Why, For Today’s Man, The Barber Shop Is The New Pub – And The Epicentre Of A New Social Movement

The Lions Collective of barber shops aims to revolutionise our attitude to men's mental health.

Here’s a proposition for you: for today’s man the barber shop is the new pub. Research suggests that today’s men spend more time in barber shops than in pubs. And the majority prefer to discuss sensitive issues like their stresses, the personal woes, their general mental health with their barbers rather their partners, their close mates – or even their doctors.

Here’s why this matters. At GOtilo we are robust advocates for a step change in how our nation views our mental health. Up to 300,000 men and women with long-term mental health problems have to leave their jobs each year. And poor mental health costs the UK economy up to £99bn each year.

When it comes to men’s mental health, the plot thickens. Men are much more stressed today than they were ten years ago; 62% of those aged 35 or over say they feel greater pressure in 2017 than they did in 2007. Concerningly, suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK; in 2014, 74% of all suicide victims in the UK were male.

Put all this together and what do we have? The barber shop as the epicentre of a new social movement aimed at revolutionising our attitude to men’s mental health.

You can tell this barber everything.

Posted by We Stand Together on Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This is the thinking behind the Lions Barber Collective, a charitable endeavour set up on the back of a Facebook discussion about this subject. It was set up by  Tom Chapman, a barber himself.

The Lions Barber Collective is turning barbershops into safe spaces for men using the opportunity of a regular haircut to start conversations about mental health. The group is having an enormous impact with men who traditional mental health services can struggle to reach. Tom organises a professionally run training programme, which is teaching barbers to ‘recognise, talk, listen and advise’ clients and works with the Samaritans charity – signposting the services they offer to clients in need.

This is a great initiative supported by some excellent barbers that are found all over your city. In April, top London chop-shop Pall Mall barbers joined the movement and urged barber shops across London to get involved. Amen to that.

And for the rest of you lads, what are you waiting for? Get yourself a trim, chew that fat, and let it all out. Check out the Lions Collective website for more information, help get your own barber to get  involved, and use the hashtag #barbertalk to contribute to this amazing movement.

Statistics courtesy of Government research and surveys conducted Sept and Oct 2017 by Lion Barber Collective / The Bluebeard’s Revenge. Picture courtesy of  Nick Gibbens at The Bluebeard’s Revenge

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